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Rooting For The Underdog: A Different View on Brook vs. Golovkin

Rooting For The Underdog: A Different View on Brook vs. Golovkin
By: John Freund

This past Saturday, September 10th, I was one of 19,000 in attendance at the O2 Arena in London, to watch Kell Brook fight Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin.

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I have to admit, as a boxing fan, I was rooting for Golovkin. He is a tremendous fighter, not to mention an entertaining one, and I want to see him fight Billy Joe Saunders in a Middleweight Unification bout. I also want to see a Golovkin-Alvarez Superfight, which yes I do believe will happen some time next year. If Golovkin were to lose to Brook, it would throw all of that in jeopardy. So in that sense, I was rooting for Golovkin.

But there’s just something about rooting for the underdog, isn’t there? And Kell Brook is a great underdog to root for. Here he is jumping up two weight divisions to take on an opponent that many, including the aforementioned Saunders and Alvarez, have been accused of ducking. Golovkin is the most feared fighter in the world, the Goliath of boxing. And here’s Kell Brook volunteering to be David. You can’t help but respect that type of courage.

So as the fight started, even though I actually wanted Golovkin to win, I found myself rooting for Brook. It didn’t hurt that of the 19,000 fans in attendance, probably 18,000 were also rooting for the British-born Welterweight-turned-Middleweight. And Brook made himself that much easier to root for when he somehow managed to out-fight Golovkin in the first 2 rounds. Brook was fast, sharp, and his punches had a sting to them that surprised many, given that this was not his usual fighting weight.

Of course, we all know what happened next. Golovkin hammered Brook late in the 2nd with a right cross that damaged his eye socket. Brook spent the next 3 rounds on the defensive, which is not a place you want to be when fighting ‘The God of War.’ According to Brook, he began to see 3 or 4 Golovkins after Round 2. Hey, it’s hard enough to fight 1 Golovkin, but 3 or 4??

Brook’s corner threw in the towel in the 5th. ‘Boos’ rained down like pellets in a hailstorm, but it was the right call to make. Brook’s eye was too far gone for him to continue. He fought admirably, but he was taking way too much punishment in the 5th, and basically running from Golovkin who was pummeling him at will against the ropes.

Brook will need surgery on his eye, thanks to Golovkin’s fist. It’s a shame it had to come to that, as the first two rounds were so thrilling and filled with fantastic punches and counterpunches. I would have liked to see 8 or 10 or even 12 rounds of that. Instead we got 2 great rounds, a busted eye, and a subsequent beat down. But such is the power of the man they call ‘Triple G.’

After the fight was over, I had mixed emotions. I was glad Golovkin won, but then again, I was rooting for Brook.

So… is this a happy ending, or not??

I guess ultimately it is a happy ending, because Golovkin winning means that I can now anticipate Golovkin-Saunders and Golovkin-Alvarez. Those fights would have far less meaning if Triple-G had lost this one to Brook.

Then again, there’s just something about rooting for the underdog…

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